Children with ASD benefit from interventions that are interactive and focus on developing social skills, and the parent-child relationship plays a vital part in the development of empathy and social skills. The Empathy Reading Project: Supporting Parents And Their Children Living With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) explored whether parent-led bibliotherapy with therapeutic support from the researcher helped children ages three to five living with ASD improve cognitive empathy and social-emotional development and their parents gain parental acceptance. All participants were parent and child dyads (N=4), and all child participants were male. The Empathy Reading Project was a multiple baseline (A-B-A-B), pre and posttest, single case research design study; parents met weekly with the researcher who provided bibliotherapy to their children for two, three-week interventions. The researcher provided bibliotherapy book selections and questions and reviewed the materials with parents before they began the intervention phase(s). The researcher and parents co-created individualized daily child measures to assess whether behaviors the parents identified as being important to them could be addressed through the bibliotherapy intervention and specialized time between the parent and child. Each child participant had at least one area of significant improvement from their individualized daily child measure. One child had significant changes in all three of his individualized questions and the other three children had mixed results. For the mothers who participated in the study, there was a moderate effect size for increased parental acceptance. The Empathy Reading Project provided initial evidence that a parent-led, therapist-supported, intervention can help children living with ASD to improve their empathic, prosocial behaviors and decrease off-task behavior. Parents and children that can benefit from this intervention are willing to engage in daily bibliotherapy; the parents are willing to try new communication strategies with their child and engage in therapeutic support.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Counselor Education and School Psychology
Education; Counselor Education
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Mendoza, Sarah, "The Empathy Reading Project: Supporting Parents And Their Children Living With Autism Spectrum Disorder" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1258.